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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    QUEENSLAND TO MAKE MEDICINES OF THE FUTURE

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    QUEENSLAND TO MAKE MEDICINES OF THE FUTURE

     

    Queensland has secured international drug manufacturer DSM Biologics to operate Australia’s first major contract manufacturing facility for biologic drugs and therapeutics.

    Federal Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the contract in Chicago today at the world’s biggest biotechnology conference.

    The Queensland Government has provided $7 million in seed funding for the facility under its ten-year Biotechnology Strategic Plan and the Commonwealth is investing $10 million as part of its ongoing push to win high-tech, high-value jobs and industries for Australia.

    The facility is being built in partnership with Queensland Government-owned BioPharmaceuticals Australia, and will be located with the Translational Research Institute on the Princess Alexandria Hospital campus in Brisbane.

    “This facility will fill a huge gap in Australia’s biotechnology infrastructure”, Senator Carr said. “It will make the Translational Research Institute one of the few places in the world that can turn research discoveries into real-world treatments for patients.”

    “This is a turning point in the development of Queensland’s biotechnology industry,” Premier Bligh said. “We have a plan to make this industry worth $20 billion and employ 16,000 people by 2025. This is about supporting Queensland research, innovation and jobs into the future, and this major contract is a great step forward.”

    The facility will allow local companies to make the relatively small quantities of biopharmaceuticals needed for early-stage clinical trials. Biopharmaceuticals are produced in live cells from plants and animals, especially mammals, which most resemble humans. Drugs of this kind are being developed for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis and cancer.

    “An estimated $60 million goes offshore every year to manufacturers of small-scale drug and therapeutic compounds because we can’t do this kind of work in Australia,” Premier Bligh said. “The partnership with DSM Biologics is about to change all that.”

    Senator Carr said: “Creating this capability will make Australia an even more attractive destination for investment in biopharmaceutical research, development, and production. It will give home-grown companies the tools they need to compete internationally – enabling us to deliver more revolutionary drugs like Gardasil, which is protecting women around the world from cervical cancer.”

    Karen King, president of DSM Biologics, said the company is very excited to have been selected to operate the facility in Queensland: “The Australian biotech industry is rapidly growing and this was an important factor for our participation. We are looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to the prospering Australian biotech industry.”

    The remaining $45 million required to build the $62 million facility will come from the Translational Research Institute funding pool, which includes $140 million from the Commonwealth and $100 million from the Queensland Government, along with generous contributions from philanthropic and institutional partners.

    The Translational Research Institute – headed by the inventor of Gardasil, Professor Ian Frazer – is set to open in 2012, with the BioPharmaceuticals Australia facility on track to begin manufacturing by 2013.

    “This is another example of what we can achieve when governments, researchers and industry work together,” Senator Carr said. “Australians will benefit from this investment for years to come.”

    Media contacts: Stan Anson, Minister Carr, 0447 744 276
    Megan Saunders, Premier Bligh, 0419 913 438